I cook because it’s the only affordable way to eat, plus I feel better when my diet is from a home cooked meal.
Kitchen Hero Marabeth proves that even though cooking has its challenges, it can still be very fun! Learn about how Marabeth overcame her cooking challenges, discovered new ingredients, and gained the confidence to plan, prepare, and cook for 16 people in her Hero in the Kitchen story below. If that doesn’t make us proud, we don’t know what does!
Names: Marabeth Duncan
City, State: Mt. Pleasant, SC
I cook for: health! (And my husband, Ian.)
Outside of the kitchen: I do the normal things – try to be outside, hang out with my husband and dog, and I try to exercise each day.
The 3 pantry items I cannot live without are: Sriracha, Balsamic Vinegar, Rice
I cook because: it’s the only affordable way to eat, plus I feel better when my diet is from a home cooked meal. My husband cooks to de-stress and clear his brain after work.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Tom Kha Gai Soup, hands down!
How did you learn to cook?
Not from my parents! I learned to cook partly from my husband, Ian, who is a much more creative and experienced cook than I am, and partly from Cook Smarts. But even he didn’t know how to cut an onion properly before Cook Smarts!
What’s been your biggest cooking challenge?
Biggest cooking challenge is handling raw meat because it grosses me out. But I love to eat meat, so I’m getting over it slowly but surely. The first time I ever cut into a chicken breast, I refused to touch it and ended up accidentally flipping the whole cutting board, meat and all, onto the ground!
Thankfully, my husband laughed it off and helped me clean it up. I’m learning from my mistakes, though! I cut chicken like a pro these days…
How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?
Before Cook Smarts I would comb through recipe websites and just pick out whatever sounded appetizing to me. We ended up with a lot of wasted ingredients and could never count on the quality of the recipe instructions.
With Cook Smarts, we cook whatever is suggested even if it doesn’t sound appetizing at first. We’ve added quite a few vegetables and seasonings to our palate, and we love how quick and efficient we can be with time and money thanks to Cook Smarts.
“I love that Cook Smarts makes it so easy to follow the dietary plan that’s right for you, because we all have unique nutritional needs.”
Tell us about your proudest kitchen moment.
My proudest kitchen moment was last month when I volunteered to plan, cook, and prepare food for 16 people on a retreat. I did a few slow cooker recipes from Cook Smarts that were a big hit! I never would have done something like that a year ago. And I actually had fun doing it!
What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?
I’m a Jazzercise instructor and so customers are always asking me how they should be eating for various health goals. Now, I’m no nutritionist, but I can tell you this: you can’t outwork a bad diet! If it had a mother or grew from the ground, eat it. If not, eat it sparingly or not at all. Processed foods are the biggest opponent to your health, so choose wisely!
I love that Cook Smarts makes it so easy to follow the dietary plan that’s right for you, because we all have unique nutritional needs. But all of the plans are on the healthier side of the eating spectrum.
Marabeth, you’re quickly becoming a pro in the kitchen! You are such a determined and positive cook, and we’re so happy to hear that you’re enjoying the cooking process. It’s also great that you jumped in on the cooking, even though your husband is an awesome cook. Hooray for teamwork! And a round of applause for all your kitchen successes!
To join Marabeth and cook meals like her favorite Tom Kha Gai Soup with Chicken, Zucchini & Mushrooms, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!